Book Trailer The Noble Train

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rooftops and Dust

What would Hemingway would have thought about our current time? Sitting up here in the attic I cant believe he would have had a website. I mean, he never even did a reading. Could you see Ernest on a book tour? Or getting in his car with a load of books and driving around to small bookstores hawking his wares? He never even had an agent and didn't seem to have to bother with all the chicanery of modern publishing. One thing I know about writers, they usually only do one thing really well and that is write. But no one really gets to just write anymore.
You have to sell. I apologize to all out there whose books sell effortlessly off the shelves and whom are able to stay safely in their garrote. The rest of the writing community must put down the pen or the mouse or the keyboard and turn to the daunting task of making noise in a culture where gangster rap is king. Think about that. Ernest sitting at one of his cafes and here comes a car... "I ### her and then I #$## her and I took my gun to her mother#$#% head and I blew it off..." I wonder if he could go back to writing one of his Nick Adams stories after hearing that?
But that is our reality. A culture gone mad perhaps. Look for sanity and good luck doing it. The quiet pleasure of reading.... well...maybe on the Internet but is that really reading or is that just the passive gathering of information? Sure, of course, people read and for the modern author finding these people is his task. But it's tricky.
Sitting up here staring at the rooftops among the dust of his time I can't help thinking he was better off. Sure, I know, we have all the technology and the quality of life is much more improved, but lets face it, the written word was king then. Radio had just begun to move in and television was a fantasy. Movies were contained to a theatre. People sat on their porches and in their hammocks and laid on their sofas and were bored and listened to occasional faraway voices drift on the summer tide and they read. They read their magazines their Saturday Evening Posts. They read their books, the latest by Hemingway, Fitzgerald, a woman out of Atlanta who wrote a big Southern novel.
People ate together and dogs barked outside and a train whistle broke across the night tide but mostly there was the moment lived and people had to talk among each other and think and imagine to entertain themselves. There was no blue flickering in the windows. There was no squelch of computers nor the shrill of cellular phones or the roar of jets overheard. Maybe there was the wind. Maybe the scrape of leaves across the sidewalk. A cough in the night. I believe most people find our age intolerable. Humans aren't cyber and they aren't synthetic and they aren't actual heroes. We are really fragile creatures who are at their best when left alone.
So, I don't know, maybe things are better now, but up here among the old quiet, I'll put my nickel down on the dust and the rooftops of Hemingway's time any day of the week.

Books by William Hazelgrove